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  #1  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 5:08 AM
ThePhun1 ThePhun1 is offline
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When did Toronto pass Montreal?

When did Toronto pass Montreal as Canada's most prominent city? Just curious because it's hard for me to fathom anything except Toronto as Canada's most notable city.

Last edited by ThePhun1; Feb 16, 2020 at 5:04 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 5:40 AM
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Montreal used to be the London/Paris/Tokyo of the country for a while, but then (and it was a slow process) as Francophone Canadiens started to want to take control of their own institutions, the Anglos who controlled most of the levers of power in the country started to decamp to the (more reliably stable) province next door, eventually bringing institutions with them (banks, stock exchange, etc.)

A tipping point was 1976 when Quebec elected a sovereigntist party - scared a lot of the remaining Anglos away. I think Toronto officially passed Montreal in population at some point around that time (or else in the 1980s at the latest).

Montreal could have had all that instead of Toronto, but it wouldn't be the Montreal of today, and the province would also look very different.
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Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 6:01 AM
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Montreal, for most of Canada's history, was the face of the country. It was culturally, economically, politically, and socially Canada's centre. It was also where the Canadian establishment resided and all the trappings that came with that. One only need walk around Montreal to see evidence of Montreal's former status.

Toronto may have passed Montreal in population 1978-1979 but the re-making of Toronto as Canada's metropolis is an ongoing process. The last piece of the puzzle and most elusive will be the sense of self confidence and cultural maturity that alpha cities all possess. Toronto still suffers from self doubt and persistent feelings that it doesn't measure up. Torontonians seem to be in a mad rush to acquire any and every bauble (like an NFL franchise) it feels will prove that it's a true global metropolis. Ironically, it all comes across as culturally insecure/immature.

Toronto is definitely Canada's top dog today but I sense it will take another generation or 2 before the population takes pride in its self and starts to value its own culture. For now the mindset is still: if it's from here it's crap and must be discarded immediately.
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  #4  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 6:06 AM
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I don't see this ending well.
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  #5  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 6:09 AM
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I believe the 1976 census was the first time Toronto was ahead of Montreal


https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1...uest_locale=en
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  #6  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 12:52 PM
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No earlier than the mid-late 80's, IMO. There's a lag between population/economic might and public perception.

In fact I'd argue many less globally attuned folks still believe that Montreal is the primate city, or at least co-equal, just how many people still believe Chicago is the "second city, or believe Rio is the most important Brazilian city.

Of course no longer within Canada; every Canadian knows Toronto is dominant.
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  #7  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 1:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
No earlier than the mid-late 80's, IMO. There's a lag between population/economic might and public perception.

In fact I'd argue many less globally attuned folks still believe that Montreal is the primate city, or at least co-equal, just how many people still believe Chicago is the "second city, or believe Rio is the most important Brazilian city.

Of course no longer within Canada; every Canadian knows Toronto is dominant.
as late as the early 00s i thought of them as equals, judging mainly by artistic output at the time i guess.
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Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 2:31 PM
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as late as the early 00s i thought of them as equals, judging mainly by artistic output at the time i guess.
And I would say that was accurate at that time. Today Toronto has skyrocketed past that, but I would say that Montreal still produces above Toronto per capita on that front. Toronto’s difference of being 50% larger simply means it’s going to excel at almost everything, even if Montreal does things better for its size.
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Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 4:56 PM
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I would agree with the 2000's as well.

In the 90s I would say Montreal still had an edge in some aspects. 90s was also the real transition period. Sovereigntist movement and recessions.

At the end of all that emerged co-capitals Montreal (French) Toronto (English). I think both cities are quite ok with that.
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  #10  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 5:13 PM
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It's all about the international immigrants. Without them both cities would lose population.
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  #11  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 5:17 PM
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Some of us would've said even just a few years ago that Toronto hadn't yet passed Montreal as Canada's prominent city. Montreal is the closest thing Canada has to a London or a Paris - meaty history, gorgeous buildings, and strong sense of identity confined to the city limits. There was something missing in Toronto, something that felt so generic, suburban. But over the past... I'd estimate 5-6 years... virtually everyone I know who hated or was bored by Toronto now enjoys it. Something has switched, some sort of critical mass has been reached. I haven't yet experienced that for myself - haven't been to Toronto since like 2012 - but I can't stress enough it's literally everyone I know. Even my mother (loves NYC, hates Florida, hates Dubai, loves Lisbon, etc.) used to complain about having layovers in Toronto, but she's actually gone there to see a few shows recently.

Devastatingly, I've also heard a couple of negative reviews of Montreal in recent years from friends. I don't think I could ever lose my first impression of Montreal, that sense of wonder at discovering Canada had something cool, but it seems less possible for anglophones to get that impression these days.
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Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 5:46 PM
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Montreal as Canada's primate city would have been something greater and more interesting than Toronto can provide (on history, on bones, on the bicultural tension), but the price tag was the deracination of the Québecois people.

Its probably better it went how it did.
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  #13  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 5:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Gresto View Post
I don't see this ending well.
We can do this.
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  #14  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 6:50 PM
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Wasn't Toronto made larger due to the merger? Or are we simply talking metro area?
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  #15  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 7:25 PM
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Originally Posted by JManc View Post
Wasn't Toronto made larger due to the merger? Or are we simply talking metro area?
Montréal always functioned as a city/island of 2 million , Toronto is now larger by a large margin since the merger. Its metro area is also 50% larger.
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  #16  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 7:34 PM
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My first and only visit to Toronto was 20 years ago. 10yo me was impressed by the tall condos downtown. We stayed at a place somewhere way up north. During the 1hr drive downtown my city dwelling mom was complaining about Torontos sprawliness.
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  #17  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 7:52 PM
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Technically the change happened in 1980 but it wasn't until the mid-90s except for finance which changed over by 1980 at the latest as the major banks all fled to Toronto in the 1970s. The kick in the teeth for Montrealer's was when the major Bank of Montreal moved it's headquarters to Toronto.

Up until the mid-90s the view was always that Toronto was the place to make your money and Montreal was the place to spend it. Montreal seemed to have all the fun while Toronto did all the work. Since then however Toronto became more than just a financial centre but a cultural and international one as well. Now Toronto is the nation's cultural mecca and it's perennial inferiority complex when comparing itself to Montreal is gone.

Toronto {or as Montrealers once called it, Boronto} which was the bud of jokes by Montrealers has shed it's dowdy little image and so much so Montrealer will often go to Toronto for a fun weekend. Despite the still existing rivalry, you will find few Montrealers who generally don't love Toronto.
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Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 10:19 PM
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Back in 1950 Montreal was supposed to have a population of 7 million by 2000, so it was projected to be like another New York but with a lot of French spoken there.
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Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 10:25 PM
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Slightly before my time, Montreal hosted the successful 67 Expo and they were awarded a MLB team maybe 9 years before Toronto. As a kid growing up in the 70's, the Habs dominated the decade in NHL, and Montreal hosted the 76 Olympics. The one where Nadia got all her perfect 10's! Montreal was definitely the face of Canada then, and was shining. So ya, it was about 76 that the process started due largely to the separatist movement. There was a saying that people could see all the Brinks trucks leaving Montreal to go to Toronto. Montreal is still the primate city for Francophone Canada, but it used to be the primate city for all of Canada..OH, I can't really think of another similar situation in another country where this power shift happened in the last 50 years or so.. Australia?..Brazil?

Last edited by Razor; Feb 17, 2020 at 12:00 AM.
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  #20  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2020, 11:46 PM
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Montreal-Toronto and Rio de Janeiro-São Paulo are the two most dramatic leading city shifts in history.

Coincidentally, they took place on the same time (1970’s), and there were also those same patterns where the former leading city will be losing its primacy on every single field till nothing has left. And by now, both São Paulo and Toronto reign completely alone.
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